South Carolina LLC Registered Agent
Quick Start Guide:
How to form an LLC in South Carolina
South Carolina LLC costs:
LLC formation: $125 online or $110 by mail
Annual report: None (for most LLCs)
(check out Northwest vs LegalZoom)
Before filing your Articles of Organization with South Carolina, you need to select a Registered Agent for your LLC.
A Registered Agent is a person or company who agrees to accept legal mail on behalf of your LLC in case your business gets sued.
In most states, a Registered Agent will also serve as a general point of contact for receiving business and tax notices, payment reminders, and other documents.
Your Registered Agent must have a physical address in South Carolina (PO Boxes are not allowed).
Your Registered Agent must also be available during normal business hours (9am – 5pm) in case Service of Process arrives. Service of Process includes delivery of documents such as complaints, summons, and/or subpoenas.
Who Can Be Your Registered Agent in South Carolina?
When forming an LLC in South Carolina, you have 3 options:
Option 1: You can be your LLC’s Registered Agent.
Option 2: A friend or family member can be your LLC’s Registered Agent.
Option 3: You can hire a Commercial Registered Agent.
Important: If your Registered Agent is going to be an individual (you, a friend, or a family member), that individual needs to be a resident of South Carolina.
How Do I Know Which One to Choose?
If you have a physical address in South Carolina (such as a home or office), and are available during business hours, you can serve as your LLC’s Registered Agent.
If you don’t have a physical address in South Carolina, you can use a friend or family member’s address. They’ll need to agree to be your Registered Agent, have a physical address in South Carolina, and be available during business hours.
If you don’t have a physical address in South Carolina, and you don’t have a friend or family member’s address that you can use (or prefer not to), you can hire a Commercial Registered Agent.
Using a Commercial Registered Agent offers a degree of privacy in most states and is usually a more reliable setup.
A Commercial Registered Agent is a company that specializes in receiving Service of Process on behalf of your South Carolina LLC. They typically charge between $100-$300 per year.
Once hired, they will receive Service of Process on behalf of your South Carolina LLC and then forward it to you by mail at any address you’d like. Most will also fax or email your documents as well.
If you need a Commercial Registered Agent in South Carolina, we recommend Northwest Registered Agent ($125 per year).
Why we recommend Northwest Registered Agent
Northwest Registered Agent is our personal recommendation (and the service we use ourselves) because they’ve been in business for over 20 years, have great customer service, and they let you use their address in your entire LLC filing in order to keep your address off public record.
How to keep your address off public records:
Many filers in South Carolina start businesses from their home. For this reason, it’s important to know that all addresses that are on your LLC’s Articles of Organization get listed on public record and may appear in google searches.
If you were thinking of using your home address, but would rather keep it off public records, you can hire a Registered Agent that will allow you to use their address throughout your Articles of Organization. Northwest Registered Agent offers this unique service at no additional cost. They offer Registered Agent services for $125 per year and they’ll let you use their address throughout your Articles of Organization.
Any mail that is sent to your LLC will be scanned by them and uploaded into your online account.
Northwest usually charges $100 + state fees to form an LLC. However, we’ve negotiated a discounted rate (60% off) for LLC University® readers.
(to learn more about Northwest, check out our Northwest Registered Agent review)
Are there risks if you, a friend, or family are your LLC’s Registered Agent?
In short, there are risks. They are not likely to occur, but if they do, you could lose your liability protection.
For example, if the state is unsuccessful in reaching your LLC’s Registered Agent, you may lose your good standing status, and the state has the authority to dissolve your LLC.
Additionally, if a process server is unsuccessful in reaching your LLC’s Registered Agent about a lawsuit (they’ll try a few times), the court case can proceed in your absence and you might not even know about it. Worse, the court could place a judgment against you if you aren’t there to defend yourself.
A few reasons a process server might not be able to reach your LLC’s Registered Agent:
- you, your friend, family member are not there during business hours
- you/they are on vacation
- you moved and forgot to file a Change of Registered Agent with the state
Hiring a Commercial Registered Agent is a more reliable setup and gives you the freedom to take vacations and not worry about changing your Registered Agent address if you move.
Many Commercial Registered Agents will also help keep your LLC in compliance by sending you reminders of annual reporting requirements.
Once you determine who will serve as your South Carolina LLC’s Registered Agent, you can then proceed to the next Lesson: Articles of Organization.
If you need to hire a Commercial Registered Agent, please do so before going to the next step.
Wikipedia: Registered Agent
South Carolina Legislature: Code of Laws Title 33
South Carolina Secretary of State: Service of process
South Carolina Secretary of State: Registered Agent search
SCORE: Should you hire a Registered Agent or be your own
South Carolina Legislature: Code of Laws Title 15, Chapter 9
South Carolina Secretary of State: FAQs about business entities
South Carolina Judicial Branch: Rule 4 of the Rules of Civil Procedure
South Carolina Legislature: Chapter 44 (LLC Act) of Title 33 (see section 33-44-108)